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Transferrin receptor 1-mediated iron uptake regulates bone mass in mice via osteoclast mitochondria and cytoskeleton

By Haibo Zhao, Bhaba K Das, Lei Wang, Toshifumi Fujiwara, Jian Zhou, Nukhet Aykin-Burns, Kimberly J Krager, Renny Lan, Samuel G Mackintosh, Ricky Edmondson, Michael L Jennings, Xiaofang Wang, Jian Q Feng, Tomasa Barrientos, Jyoti Gogoi, Aarthi Kannan, Ling Gao, Weirong Xing, Subburaman Mohan

Posted 12 Sep 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.09.12.459964

Increased intracellular iron spurs mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration to satisfy high-energy demand during osteoclast differentiation and bone-resorbing activities. Transferrin receptor 1 (TFR1) mediates cellular iron uptake through endocytosis of iron-loaded transferrin and its expression increases during osteoclast differentiation. Nonetheless, the precise functions of TFR1 and TFR1-mediated iron uptake in osteoclast biology and skeletal homeostasis remain incompletely understood. To investigate the role of TFR1 in osteoclast lineage cells, we conditionally deleted Tfr1 gene in myeloid precursors or mature osteoclasts by crossing Tfr1-floxed mice with LysM-Cre and Ctsk-Cre mice, respectively. Skeletal phenotyping by CT and histology unveiled that loss of Tfr1 in osteoclast progenitor cells resulted in a three-fold increase in trabecular bone mass in the long bones of 10-week old female but not male mice. Although high trabecular bone volume in long bones was seen in both male and female mice with deletion of Tfr1 in mature osteoclasts, this phenotype was more pronounced in female knockout mice. Mechanistically, disruption of Tfr1 expression attenuated mitochondrial metabolism and cytoskeletal organization in mature osteoclasts, leading to decreased bone resorption with no impact on osteoclastogenesis. These results indicate that Tfr1-mediated iron uptake is specifically required for osteoclast function and is indispensable for bone remodeling.

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